Airlines assert that a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requirement that they prominently display the full price of an airline ticket (base fare, taxes, fees) in a print or online advertisement treats them differently than other industries. They are correct. There is a reason. They are treated differently on many different levels.
Today two organizations that most consumers barely know, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, are sitting down in Miami to discuss the future of travel distribution. In consumer-speak, they are discussing setting new technical standards that will ultimately determine how travelers will be able to purchase airline tickets, extra fees, hotels, rental cars, cruises and packaged tours.
Flash sales, twitter sales, geo-located promotions, computer coupons, computer group discounts, facebook groups, private sales, online travel agents, global distribution systems, airline reservation systems, direct connect, passenger value scoring and travel agents are all ways and systems to purchase travel. Chaos is growing in our pricing. Nothing is certain. Is a deal a deal?
Do the computers running the airline reservation systems recognize you and offer a different price depending on your buying habits? Sometimes it seems so and technology can do it. When prices come up different between different customers, it makes you wonder.
Research has found both United and US Airways routinely refused to waive fees for blind callers booking by phone, even after being made aware of the regulations.
If you’ve ever wondered how we ended up here, with sub-standard airline service, angry passengers and disgruntled employees, here’s something to consider. It’s a receipt for a Trans World Airlines flight from Paris to New York — in 1953.
Why does a sausage and egg McMuffin and a small coffee cost 20¢ more than the “combo” version with the same sandwich, larger coffee and fried potatoes?
In a TravelMole commentary, Peter Greenberg slams the airline practice of quoting deceptively low prices and marking them with an asterisk. Worse, airlines have asked regulators for even more leeway for more consumer confusion.